Canadian Canoe Routes

Go Home Lake West Canoe Loop
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Author:  WaterHunter [ June 10th, 2017, 7:41 am ]
Post subject:  Go Home Lake West Canoe Loop

I was off on a solo trip today, heading over to Go Home Lake. The ponds and lakes west of Go Home Lake, between the Musquash and Go Home Rivers was in my radar sight today. I had skied parts of the area with a number of Five Winds members years ago, but had not explored the area by canoe. There was a chance of rain, and possibly a thunderstorm today. I would keep an eye on the sky, and if necessary, change my plans.

As I drove across to from Bala to my starting point, the clouds did show signs of uplift, a couple lines almost looking ominous. They passed over, and the remaining clouds gradually dissipated as the morning progressed. I saw a moose standing in a beaverpond by the road as I drove across Muskoka Road 38 … maybe a wildlife day today? I drove down the Go Home Lake Road, stopping to park at a flat area beside the road, at the start of an ATV trail and a chain of small lakes.

I started my route by portaging down a very steep, but short gully in Go Home Lake. I would return via the small lakes north of the road. It was just before 9:30 AM. Blackflies, mosquitos and deer flies were all swarming me, until I got far enough out into the lake, and the wind. I would now have a break from the bugs for a few kilometres until I reached the far west end of the bay, past the outlet of the Musquash River. There was some current in a narrow spot. I imagine the dam to the south of me must be wide open.

Soon I was at the far west end of the lake looking a the small creek flowing towards me. The bush looked very dense here, so I paddled back a short distance to a clearer spot to begin the bushcrash. Out came the bug spray, I was now being inundated with hoards of mosquitos! A 10 minute rough and bushy portage brought me into the first pond, a long, narrow, and scenic pond, and with lots of water. The next few ponds had good water levels as well, with short bushcrashes between them.

I had a choice now, either continue west, weaving through the wetlands towards a small lake, or portage north into waterbodies, and then south into the same lake. I stopped to check the next marsh, and seeing that it was not canoeable went for the more northerly route. Another tough bushcrash got me into the next pond, canoeable, but with low water. A small lake, another scenic pond, ending with another tough bushcrash, and I was now into the lake. I was now paddling against a strong wind, but it provided relief, clearing away the hungry bugs.

As I paddled up the lake I noticed a cache of boats on the southwest shore, evidence that the lake must have some good fishing. The numerous swirls in front of me as I proceeded up a narrow weedy stream to the northwest, confirmed the presence of fish.
I now portaged a short distance up into a smal lake/pond, stopping along the east side for my lunch break.

It was a beautiful day so far, no signs of any inclement weather. I kept the lunch break short, as I had a long afternoon ahead of me. The next broad wetland presented a challenge, as it was mostly bush covered. A narrow ribbon of water around the perimeter provided some canoeable water, but it was very narrow in many places requiriing some gruntwork. Fortunately, about half way up, the ribbon eventually widened and was now a pleasure to paddle through.

Another short bushcrash brought me into a very scenic group of ponds.
I couldn’t resist paddling through as many of them as possible. Only one had low water. Unfortunately though, they eventually ended, and I now faced a long, and very rough portage. There were lots of areas with flast open rock, however, there were a few alder swamps to shove through.
I also came across an ATV trail, following one of the ridges. I followed it a short distance, but turned off as I could see it was taking me away from my intended direction.

I dropped down into a deep gully, and padded up it a short distance, trying to determine exactly where I was. The canoeable water narrowed into a rocky shallow area. A makeshift bridge of logs, and another ATV trail crossed the stream here. I could see a pond ahead of me, confirming where I was (pretty sure). I followed the ATV trail a short distance, as it was heading in the right direction, but eventually left it, as it started to turn more southerly. I made it into a small bay, and paddled out into the next long narrow pond. Good, now I knew where I was! Two more ponds to navigate through before reaching Go Home Lake.

The bushcrashes here were easy. The last round pond however, was totally dry, extending the bushcrash as I had to walk around the south shore. The grassy area was firm, so the walking was easy. I put into a narrow stream which led out into Go Home Lake. I now had almost an hour of paddling before my next portage, mostly with the wind at my back. It was nice to be paddling now without any bugs.
So far no rain, although the clouds to the north were building. They appeared to be staying of to the north and east. One narrow channel on the lake, again had quite the flow, fast enough that paddling in the opposite direction would take some effort.

I turned into the long narrow bay on the east side of the lake and followed it southerly to my next carry, this one being short, just up over some rocks and a large beaver dam. I now paddled down this narrow lake, passing the rocky area Elaine and I had stopped for lunch on one of our paddles last summer. I was now “off-map”, but with the direct route to the road it wasn’t a problem. I tried to portage directly into the last pond, but found myself into the one just to the west. Oh well, one more portage to take. Just as well, looking at the map once at home I could see that it would be a longer struggle to take the more direct route. Into the last pond, and I could see the road in the distance.

Finally, back at the car, just after 5:30PM, a bit later than usual. Now just the 40 minute drive home, another great exploring day!

A link to more pictures, and a map of the route

Author:  wotrock [ June 12th, 2017, 9:00 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Go Home Lake West Canoe Loop

Shouldn't be publishing detailed maps of there sorts of routes. The next thing you know it'll be overrun with tourists types!!! :lol:

Author:  WaterHunter [ June 12th, 2017, 9:06 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Go Home Lake West Canoe Loop

I think the lack of any trail, or potential of no water in a pond will be a deterrent

Author:  jmk60 [ June 15th, 2017, 5:18 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Go Home Lake West Canoe Loop


Author:  jmk60 [ June 21st, 2017, 2:23 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Go Home Lake West Canoe Loop

How did you even get the idea that that route could be do-able?

Author: [ June 21st, 2017, 9:06 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Go Home Lake West Canoe Loop

Nice photos looks like fun. I saw the rear of your backpack and the shape looked really good. Is there a particular brand name model to it? Thanks

Author:  WaterHunter [ June 22nd, 2017, 10:58 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Go Home Lake West Canoe Loop

jmk60 wrote:
How did you even get the idea that that route could be do-able?

We always explore, using satellite images, even on multi-day trips. I stopped using maps years ago. There is lots of recent imagery in many areas. I like to see what is there, rather than a map interpretation. Of course the risk is always there for low water in the wetlands, or none at all. (a light canoe really helps) I don't own a GPS, navigating solely by following the images. They really made our recent QEII crossing trip a breeze to do, providing us with tons of detail on numerous optional routes if one or more ponds were out.

Author:  WaterHunter [ June 22nd, 2017, 11:03 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Go Home Lake West Canoe Loop wrote:
Nice photos looks like fun. I saw the rear of your backpack and the shape looked really good. Is there a particular brand name model to it? Thanks

I'm not sure of the model. It was purchased at MEC for the purpose of our backcountry off-trail ski trips.

It seems to work well for these canoe adventures as well as our hikes. I have the usual larger packs when heading out on multi-day trips.

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